White Peak Walk from Monsal Head Sunday 18th December 2011

Warning, I’m a keen amateur photographer, so there will be a lot of photos to view!

Well, after loading the car up with my kit for the day, I drove up to Monsal Head, from a very dark and cloudy West Midlands.

Today’s walk, starting from Monsal Head, was Upperdale, Cressbrook Dale, Tansley Dale, Litton, Tideswell Dale, Litton Mill, Cressbroook and back to Monsal Head.

Normally a nice steady journey, avoiding Matlock, once I got the other side of Lichfield, the ground was white!

Yes, it had been snowing in the night and at times, still doing a good job.

I was thinking, I hope it’s nice and white where I’m going, but not expecting too much.

Well, up to that point, the journey was steady and uneventful, but from there, it became quite slow as people were driving carefully. A journey that normally just under 1½ hours to drive, took over 2 hours!

Still, I arrived safely, in the long stay car park at Monsal Head, which was slippier than an ice skating rink!

Once parked up, I got kitted and started the walk, doing some very good two legged Bambi impressions....

By this time, the snow had stopped and the sun was out, but it wasn’t any warmer, with the temperature hovering between 0 – 2.0ºC and the wind, a nice, but cold 5 mph on average.

The steps down from Monsal Head were slippery, but negotiable with care. I then joined the road at the bottom, heading for Upperdale.

Continuing down the road towards Cressbrook, not a sole had been seen, lovely and quiet, but then, perhaps they were the sensible ones, keeping warm. Though I was nice and comfy in my clothing, possibly a little too warm, but I wasn’t going to take any layers off at this stage.


Passing through Cressbrook, past the grand looking Mill building, which are now posh apartments, ascending up the road heading for Cressbrook Dale.

Now I started to see some snow.


Looking to my right, Ravenscliffe Limestone scar, to the front, Cressbrook Dale.

Following the path, there were no other footprints, apart from the odd hoof print, most likely sheep, to be seen. I am out here on my own, its wonderfully peaceful, not a sole about.

From there, the descent in to Cressbrook Dale started, where I crossed a small narrow footbridge, heading in to a wooded area.

It was fun, the branches kept catching my trekking poles, even though I stooped down, hoping not to.

Once clear of the wooded area, I started to get towards the lowest point of Cressbrook Dale, where a tributary of the River Wye had overflowed, flooding quite a large area, almost lapping on to the path.

Continuing on, I reached the stepping stones, which fortunately, were not icy, so I crossed, over in to Tansley Dale. Starting the ascent through Tansley Dale, climbing up, I spied some good photo opportunities.

I stopped to look back at Cressbrook Dale, grabbing photos and thinking, just how lovely and peaceful it is.

I do find the rolling fields in he Dales, very photogenic.

Also, I noticed on my new gadget, a Kestrel wind anemometer with temperature gauge, the wind chill was -1.4ºC!

Once I crossed the style, I then followed for a very short distance, a farm track, before entering a field to head for Litton.

I do find the Dales farms extremely attractive and often photogenic. Even though it’s a working landscape, it is the ideal landscape in my eyes, after open moorland.

Crossing the road and heading west, for the Red Lion at Litton.

A very nice looking pub inside, but I decided to eat my packed lunch, outside on the village green.

The village is very well kept, as with many of the Peak District villages. This was my first sighting of humans!

Yes, they were out and about, not being as sensible as I thought earlier...

A quick lunch stop, BLT and a Snickers bar, washed down with a nice Golden Vegetable cup-a-soup, then a quick route check and continue on my way.

Continuing in a westerly direction, I left the pretty village of Litton behind, heading for Tideswell Dale.

Just as I was leaving Litton, there was a Peak District Park Ranger heading towards Litton.

We stopped to have a chat and exchange observations of the routes we had covered. He was a little surprised that Cressbrook Dale and the stepping stones were very passable.

An enjoyable chat with a very nice a nice gent. I liked his Peak Ranger badges.

Reaching the end of the road, I headed southwards, towards Tideswell Dale. Crossing the road, to walk on the path, it was nice to walk alongside the early stages of the River Wye, more a babbling brook than river.

Then after a short while, I picked up the footpath through to Tideswell Dale.

The ground was quite frozen here, mainly because it had been shielded from the sun, and again, I started to do my two legged Bambi impressions!

Continuing down the path, I eventually reached Litton Mill. Wow, that was fun, another skating rink and more two legged Bambi impressions!

If you look carefully at the picture above, you can see the trees are actually growing out of the limestone scar....

But they were lovely cottages and Mill buildings.

After leaving Litton Mill, thinking that my amateur dramatics As A two legged Bambi on ice is all I was to expect, well, you’ll have to wait and see further.....

Continuing along the path in to Millers Dale, as expected, mud and more ice, but it wasn’t as bad as Litton Mill.

More limestone scars and muddy path, then, I noticed that the river had overflowed across the path!

Not too bad, no more than ankle deep, so I just carried on.

Then, a little further, it was like a flood plain, the path was well under water, too deep to contemplate walking through. So I climbed a make shift path, obviously others had been caught over time.

Then, just before Cressbrook, a lovely limestone scar and the river was right up to the edge of it!


I had no option, other than to turn back, and I wasn’t going to do that. I was near journeys end, so I thought what the heck, go for it, look for the best route through and if I had boot fulls, then so be it.

Luckily, I managed to navigate a path that didn’t go over my ankles.

Then in to Cressbrook, that lovely old Mill building, which are now apartments. From there, I followed the road through Upperdale and back to Monsal Head.

The really fun bit was to come, walking across the car park. That was even worse after folk had been driving across the icy surface....

But I arrived back, none the worse for my amateur dramatics as a two legged Bambi on ice.

It was a cracking day, lovely walk and great weather.

HERE to view the full collection,

Thank you for reading,
Peak Rambler

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